Today’s Pickup: An old foe, Canadian winter, menaces trucks

Good day,

If there’s one thing truck drivers can count on in Canada, it’s an annual battle with an enemy known as winter.

Things got so bad in Newfoundland that the Canadian Armed Forces had to help dig the island province out from a record-breaking blizzard that dumped 2.5 feet of snow on St. John’s on Saturday. Trucks had few options but to wait for the snow to be cleared and ferry service to return. 

But on the packed roads of Canada’s largest freight hub, the Greater Toronto Area, winter can be scary. At one point on Saturday, officers from Ontario Provincial Police were responding to more than 40 collisions. 

Much of the trouble happens on Highway 401, often ranked as the busiest road in North America. There’s even a Canadian reality show, “Heavy Rescue: 401,” dedicated to the recovery of large vehicles, many of them trucks, from the road.

Did you know?

The U.S. wine and spirits industry supports 1.3 million jobs. A proposed 100% tariff on Champagne and other French sparkling wines could endanger 17,000 jobs, including shippers, truckers and producers.   


“It has been a long road and we have come through the fire together and we are now positioned to control our own destiny.”

— Celadon Group CEO Paul Svindland, in an internal letter dated July 31, after the now-bankrupt company closed on $165 million in financing. The document is part of a court filing alleging that Celadon drained the cash of its Canadian subsidiary, Hyndman Transport. 

In other news

Amazon to hire back laid-off Pinnacle Logistics employees

Amazon says it will hire most of the 1,600 employees set to be laid off by one of its logistics contractors, Pinnacle Logistics. (Baltimore Business Journal)

Trucker fined after police find rig nearly 100,000 pounds overweight

Police in Indiana fined a truck driver after finding that his tractor and double trailer was 96,300 pounds overweight. (LandLine)

Driverless trucks poised for growth in UK

A white paper suggests that driverless vehicles could dominate the U.K. trucking industry within a generation. (Hellenic Shipping News)

Police arrest picketers blocking Canada refinery traffic

Fourteen union members were arrested outside a refinery in Saskatchewan, where a labor dispute has disrupted tanker truck traffic since December. (Global News)

Final thoughts: 

To get a sense of the dangers to trucks on Highway 401, the Twitter feed of Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police Highway Safety Division is a good start.

Schmidt frequently posts about the all-too-frequent truck accidents on the highway. His photos and videos — including a deadly crash involving three trucks on Monday — can be difficult to look at.

His advice during a recent snowstorm: “#slowdown and drive according to the weather conditions.” 

Hammer down, everyone!